The official blog of the East Valley Region of National Novel Writing Month
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Paranormal vs. Supernatural
Q.What is the difference between the Paranormal and Supernatural genres?
A. Before Paranormal became the genre, Supernatural was the go-to genre name for out of the ordinary creatures and mysterious powers. While I personally feel the two should be separate, most consider them interchangeable. Below is the basic description for both Paranormal and Supernatural from Wikipedia, to give you a better idea of how they are different - and alike.
Paranormal is a general term that designates experiences that lie outside "the range of normal experience or scientific explanation," or that indicates phenomena understood to be outside of science's current ability to explain or measure. Paranormal phenomena are distinct from certain hypothetical entities, such as dark matter and dark energy, only insofar as paranormal phenomena are inconsistent with the world as already understood through empirical observation coupled with scientific methodology.
What I believe falls under Paranormal: vampires, werewolves, fairies, monsters, aliens, zombies, ghosts, spirits, parapsychology
The supernatural is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature.
With neoplatonic and medieval scholastic origins, the metaphysical considerations can be difficult to approach as an exercise in philosophy or theology because any dependencies on its antithesis, the natural, will ultimately have to be inverted or rejected. In popular culture and fiction, the supernatural is whimsically associated with the paranormal and the occult, this differs from traditional concepts in some religions, such as Catholicism, where divine miracles are considered supernatural.
What I believe falls under Supernatural: anything "religious" - angels, demons, ghosts, spirits
Conclusion: they are pretty much interchangeable, but can be separated.